Emma. Poster

Emma. (2020)

Comedy | Romance 
Rayting:   6.7/10
Country: UK
Language: English

In 1800s England, a well meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends.

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User Reviews

duffgifl 28 May 2020

Recently got a chance to watch this. I like the film with Gwyneth Paltrow, and absolutely love the BBC miniseries, so I was cautious watching this, especially with the several bad reviews. I don't know if it was because I went in with low expectations, but I was delighted by this movie! Admittedly if you don't know the story, it can move fast, but to be fair, the book is long and tedious, with a lot to fit in two hours, which is one of my problems with the 2008 movie. The visuals and fashions of this movie are beautiful, and Emma's character did show improvement unlike some of the comments I saw. This one definitely captured Jane Austen's humor, and you can be guaranteed to laugh a few times. The BBC mini-series is still my top rated, but the 2020 "Emma." is, in my opinion, a notch above the 2008 "Emma", but would definitely recommend all adaptations, especially the book.

Flippitygibbit 15 February 2020

Autumn de Wilde's Emma, with Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn, is not my cup of tea, I'm afraid. My review might be influenced by how much I love Jane Austen's novel and how many times I've watched the 2009 miniseries, but I always give every adaptation a try. And I can't really judge if what I was watching would make sense to an Austen virgin, shall we say, so what seemed disjointed and rushed to me might work perfectly for others.

I'll start with the good: I loved the costumes and the interiors, which were sumptuously beautiful. The wood-shaving ringlets on the women and the high collars on the men were distracting, though. And of course Anya Taylor-Joy made for a quirky and regal Emma (Austenites will be pleased to note that she has perfect posture.) I also loved how Anya Taylor-Joy and Amber Anderson as Jane actually played the pianoforte during the Coles' party (but could have done without Mr Knightley's contribution, when Frank Churchill is supposed to be singing with Jane). BUT. The music was horrendously jarring, alternating between Hanna Barbera cartoon incidentals and freakish folk music. The supporting characters suffered once again - I couldn't honestly tell the difference between Mrs Weston, Mrs Knightley and Mrs Elton, except that Isabella was for some reason a complete cow in this version, and Mr Elton and Frank Churchill were also interchangeable (perhaps that's why Elton never seemed to be without his dog collar, to help tell them apart). Bill Nighy's Mr Woodhouse was a weird combination of fusspot and Edwardian fop, and Johnny Flynn's Mr Knightley strayed way off character by stripping off in his first scene and never really recovered for me. (Apparently, that was a way of 'humanising' the character because he is always 'mansplaining' - very woke.) Anya wasn't kidding when she talked about the focus being on 'bodily functions', by the way - not only are we 'treated' to Knightley's backside, but Emma hitches up her skirts to warm her bare arse by the fire, and the 'cannot make speeches' proposal scene is a bloody mess. Literally. The script leans so heavily on lines from the novel that I think Eleanor Catton thought she was writing an essay for an English Lit exam - Austenites will be happy, but there was no feeling behind any of the grand words. When Emma and Mr Knightley argue, they constantly shout over each other, for instance, instead of the usual playful back and forth.

The whole film felt like a weird mashup between a stage musical and a Victorian farce, with choreographed servants and slapstick humour. There was also a lot of 1996 Emma in there, taking pastel and pastoral scenery from the film and Andrew Davies' wearisome obsession with wealth from the television two-parter. Not on a sliding scale of Emma and Miss Bates, but in how Mr Knightley's strawberry picking party turns into a National Trust promotional video for Wilton House, Salisbury. There's also a lot of emphasis on servants dressing their masters and mistresses, presumably to fit in more scenes of 'natural nudity'.

I went, I watched, I did my duty to Emma. But I think I'll stick with the 2009 miniseries.

patrickullmer 29 February 2020

Yes, to prepare myself for this film I read the book. It was long, it was difficult to read- but it was delightful masterpiece which I grew to love at the end. This film felt unneeded when the first trailer dropped (How many film adaptions of this story are there? 7?) but I must say that in a world drowning in superhero sci-fi movies, prequels, sequels, and reboots- this was a breath of fresh air. The chemistry between the characters and the sublime and subtle direction paired with the intelligent dialogue and supreme Anya Taylor-Joy as Emma (her performance give Gwyenith Palrow a run for her money) are all testament that we need a film like this- not a physical action trhiller, but rather an intelligent comedy with great development.

acrider680 23 March 2020

This is by far the weirdest version of Emma I have ever seen. I love the book and am a huge fan of the 1996 (Paltrow) and 2009 (Garai) movie versions, but this 2020 version is just bizarre! Emma is supposed to be about transformation. A beautiful, spoiled girl becoming a loving and caring woman. This Emma was spoiled and rude the entire file and didn't change at all. Mr. Knightley is one of my favorite literary heroes, but this version didn't showcase any of his (or Emma's) good qualities. There wasn't anything likable about any of the main characters (Mr. Woodhouse being the only exception). "Badly done, Emma! Badly done indeed."

KittyG26 16 February 2020

It looks gorgeous - fashions, interiors, etc - and it has a good cast. But it lacks the depth, subtle observation and wit of Austen's superb novel. Some of the characters are more like caricatures (Mr Woodhouse and Mr Elton, in particular). This works well in Dickens but not for Austen. It is difficult, admittedly, within the space of a two-hour movie to show character development and to do justice to the subplots, consequently some aspects of the story seemed very rushed. Yet the director wastes valuable screen time showing people walking down corridors, strolling about in the grounds, etc. Also - huge problem here - Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn (both good actors) have a serious lack of on-screen chemistry. Disappointing! Can't hold a candle to the 1996 version starting Gwynneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam, in my view.

debdshaw60 12 March 2020

Emma is one of my favorite Jane Austin novels. This production is a travesty overall. The costumes and hair and locations are sumptuous and beautiful but do little to cover the fact that the director and perhaps lead actress did not understand the book at all.

Emma is meant to be charming and sweet if wrong headed and a bit spoiled. Her heart is good and she's usually incredibly kind except when under the influence of Frank Churchill and she immediately regrets her actions.

In this version, Emma is rendered to be a superscillious brat with no real thought for anyone but herself. Bill Nighy is seriously underused and is one of the bright spots in the film. Miranda Hart is the only other bright spot. I'm not sure what on earth they were thinking. 2 hours of film went by without hitting in any part of the story that would lead to coherence. There was zero chemistry between any of the characters. They took a story that's light and charming and made it heavy and distasteful.

I'd definitely not recommend this to either readers of the book or anyone else because they definitely will not have even a fraction of an understanding of the tone of the book and wonder why on earth anyone could care about this story at all.

How very sad that they could have done a modern remake like this and just completely miss the mark.

jayemacleay 7 March 2020

If you love pantomime, you'll love the latest incarnation of Jane Austen's Emma. If you've read the book or seen the TVC series or last film adaption, all I can say is if you set great expectations your bound to be disappointed with this latest incarnation that leaves you walking out of the cinema saying why .......

The film is beautifully shot, the costumes and cinematographic should win awards .... where it does fall over is the acting .... Jane was making a parody of the upper and middle classes ... but this version slams people over the head with the delivery and over dramatised characterisation of the characters, there is no humanity or redeemable features in any of them ... just comical and inane pauses, over dramatisation .... If you come out of a movie vainly trying to find its redeemable features like Miranda Hart's version of Miss Bates or Connor Swindells Mr Martin, I am struggling to find any improvement of past versions of this novel. It does look stunning but like many beautiful things in life lacked any substance, character or depth.

glmrtndrthy 19 July 2020

My goodness. Have read some reviews and I see no middle ground....2s or 9s..Someone mentions that Mr. Elton is a caricature...this is true so was Mr. Collins. Methinks, Ms. Austen liked to poke fun at the clergy.

The nudity reminded me of the wet shirt scene in Pride & Prejudice in 1995 TV adaptation. Didn't bother me. They were naked under all those clothes back then too.

I commend the casting, the performances, the costumes, and much more. I always approach Austen movies with trepidation. I always fear disappointment, but that rarely happens and this no exception.

The director is a photographer and approached the scenes with a photographer's eye. If you look at the frames, many are beautifully symmetrical photographic portraits. Loved the visuals. I compare it to CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT just in this respect. If you really watch that fabulous Orson Welles movie, the framing looks like the paintings of Dutch Masters (especially the scenes with Fallstaff, Silence, and Shallow out at the country house).

No chemistry between the two leads? Well, if you read Austen you know that Knightley is considerably older than Emma and watched her grow up due to the family's connections. Emma and Knightley's siblings are married to each other.

Knightley admires her from afar and is betwixt friendship, sibling, buddy, et. al. with Emma. This is played well in the earlier parts of the movie. The attraction develops into more and as Emma ages it is more appropriate. The nuance of this progression is well done.

I don't know if I should call certain little gems, Easter Eggs, or hidden meanings. But, I found Harriet's moaning and sighing on the couch after twisting her ankle, well, you know...as Knightley is attending to her foot so clever. I laughed out loud.

Well done by all. And I guess after reading some reviews, not all found it thus. I recommend a second viewing.

verna-a 20 March 2020

Some fatal attraction means I must watch new Jane Austen screen adaptations although I find them invariably less than satisfying. This version of Emma is no exception as its faults are egregious. I could tell almost straight away it was going to be gimmicky in the way that filmmakers of dubious merit think they can add bits of business to wonderful classics, or distort things completely, as an "improvement". I fantasize that, in a better world, there might be some court to hear applications to make screen adaptations, to determine whether the filmmaker actually understands what it is about the story and the characters that give these works of literature their timeless appeal. So often they don't, as they change and destroy what is so fundamental to the success of the original. Somebody give them a "Cliff's Notes" to read, at the very least! Emma Woodhouse, the heroine of "Emma" is a likeable, open-natured young woman, who has faults but learns to become a better person. That's in the novel, anyway. The Emma depicted in this film wears alternately an arrogant or sulky expression, seems to have selfish and nasty motives and thoroughly deserves to be taken down a peg, which more or less happens. Newsflash to the filmmaker - she is such an unpleasant person that I don't care. Mr Knightley is a calm, confident sophisticated man of the world, someone of deep and genuine feelings - and dead sexy with it. Johnny Flynn's version is a nice young man but something of a klutz. How does he even like this hardfaced Emma? - again you've lost me. I have to contrast the failure of the lead characters to pull their weight in delivering the story, with the Romola Garai/Jonny Lee Miller version where they got it so right. To carry on with the catalogue of "wrongness" in this version, Frank Churchill, an important and attractive character in the story, is presented by an actor lacking in looks and charm, a complete nonentity. To mention some minor characters, I fully expected Bill Nighy to ham it up with the Mr Woodhouse character, and he does. But why oh why do they have to make Emma's sister Isabella and brother-in-law John Knightley unpleasant and unhappy people - it's so wrong! While not a major theme, their domestic happiness is a beacon to Emma and Mr Knightley to follow their example, and recognize their destiny. I could go on - Harriet Smith isn't pretty, Miss Bates isn't talkative enough, and Mr Elton is a grinning gargoyle. If I pull myself up with an effort to acknowledge the positives of the film, there are beautiful landscapes and house interiors, and great costumes and hairstyles, real eye candy. The dialogue is reasonably respectful of the original. But I wasn't happy for a minute watching the film. I am entitled to have high expectations of a Jane Austen adaptation, and was majorly disappointed, so only a 4/10.

henryllama 12 March 2020

Visually beautiful...but empty of soul....really dreadful...Emma (the lead) was particularly awful....save your time/money--see other versions..this one was torture to sit through

SB100 18 February 2020

I have previously seen three TV versions of Emma, and the 1990s Hollywood film with Gwyneth Paltrow - which I find excessively sentimental. Emma is not my favourite Austen novel, but the adaptation used for the 2020 film version is generally very good. One or two specifics are omitted, but this is inevitable in compression to the running time of just over two hours.

As all reviews have noted, the film is beautifully designed and shot. Some of the design may even be thought to be over the top, but I thought that was consonant with the mannered approach of the cast, an approach which works well in making this essentially a comedy of manners as well as a love story. The detective story element of the novel doesn't go for very much - little is made of the piano, and Frank Churchill's slip in knowing about Dr Perry's carriage is omitted.

I thought Mia Goth's well-rounded performance of Harriet the best I have seen, and it is certainly difficult to take one's eyes off Anya Taylor-Joy in the titular lead. Other female performances are perhaps more so-so, although Chloe Pirie's harassed Isabella is interesting. The comedic Mr Elton would be well over the top in some adaptations but just about fits in here. Other male roles are adequately filled even though the portrayal of john Knightly is slightly bizarre. Bill Nighy is...well, Bill Nighy, this time with amazing costume.

I enjoyed it, and I intend to see it again soon. Overall I would just favour the 1996 Kate Beckinsale ITV version but this is close behind and in some ways better

merril444 16 February 2020

Unfortunately for me, this version of Emma was more a miss than a hit. It was too slow & failed to draw me in. Some of the scenes were just too long or superfluous, making me wish for them to hurry up to get to the good bits. Visually speaking it was lovely & depicted the Regency period well. But the soundtrack was often jarring & distracting rather than enhancing a scene. The odd choir singing is a case in point.

I could not like Emma herself. Anya Taylor-Joy was miscast, in my opinion. I'm not sure why. Perhaps it was her unusual eyes? I know I disliked her hairstyles intensely. Horrid! I couldn't connect with her character.

I thought some of the characters were wishy washy. You would not know that Emma's sister Isabella is married to Mr Knightly's brother John. Or perhaps I blinked & missed it? Jane Fairfax was fairly insipid & there was not much to indicate that Frank Churchill was a bit of a cad weaving elaborate lies. Bill Nighy's Mr Woodhouse was too childish & effeminate for my liking. Mr Knightly, whilst likeable, was a bit childish for his age & station & not a match for this particular Emma & I could picture her walking all over him.

The actors I did enjoy were the characters of Mrs Weston, Harriet Smith & Miss Bates, played by Gemma Whelan, Mia Goth & Miranda Hart. Gemma Whelan of Game of Thrones fame, handled Mrs Weston with dignity & grace. Harriet was delightful & suitably innocent & gullible. My favourite character in this adaption was Miranda Hart's portrayal of the unfortunate Miss Bates. Miranda is an expert at playing socially awkward characters & did not disappoint with Miss Bates. Her embarrassment & vulnerability at Emma's spiteful words at the picnic brought me to tears. As did her graciousness in accepting Emma's attempt at an apology. Bravo Miranda!

So there were some redeeming scenes throughout the movie. But overall, it fell short of my expectations & the 1996 version of Emma remains my favourite to date.

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